That's a Bad Sign

Joshua Lee Webb and strange death of Greg Fleniken

April 08, 2021 Emily Winchurch & Liz Mahoney Season 1 Episode 31
That's a Bad Sign
Joshua Lee Webb and strange death of Greg Fleniken
Chapters
That's a Bad Sign
Joshua Lee Webb and strange death of Greg Fleniken
Apr 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 31
Emily Winchurch & Liz Mahoney
Show Notes Transcript

Liz: [00:00:00] Hey guys, welcome back. You're listening to, that's a bad sign. This is Liz and I'm 
Emily: [00:00:05] Emily. And this is a true crime podcast where Liz and I each do one story. 
Liz: [00:00:11] Normally we start with the recommendation corner, but honestly, in the last week I haven't done anything that interesting. So I have no recommendations 
Emily: [00:00:18] and I am just swamped and needed to get this over with so I can go back to my job and do more work.
So we have to cut it out this 
Liz: [00:00:25] week. But if you have any recommendations for us, let us know.
Emily: [00:00:39] So this week is from a recommendation that we received by Brandon who deemed us on our Instagram account. So Brandon, this one's for you. And also just a shout out to everybody we take round commendations, just message us on Instagram and 
Liz: [00:00:53] like our posts. They're funny. 
Emily: [00:00:55] My sources include the statesman journal, metro.co.uk K vowel, Oregon live and Pam Pamplin, media.com.
Liz: [00:01:10] I have no idea. Any of the words you just said? Yeah, I really struggled there. 
Emily: [00:01:14] All right. This is the story of Joshua Lee Webb, who lived in Oregon. And during the time of these upcoming events, he was 36 years old and it puts us in 2018 Webb had problems with his vision and he lived at home so his parents could take care of him.
So he was 36 years old living at home and he was described as a bit strange. But he was considered to be nice. And non-violent however, over time it did become apparent to his friends and his family, that he was suffering from some sort of mental disorder and his behavior became increasingly strange. He believed his girlfriend was injecting him with an unknown substance, trying to kill him.
He told his friends that he believed Fox TV was trying to quote own him. He also told his friends that there was a black box in the garage that contained a device that was recording him. And his, his physical appearance started to change. His eyes became really distorted. And I saw a picture of him and one eye is very small and it's looking in the wrong direction.
Liz: [00:02:26] This is so interesting. I'm very confused. I was going to say, it sounds like he's skinny. 
Emily: [00:02:31] Well, that's another point. He was constantly rubbing the side of his head and he complained that he felt like a squid was sucking onto the back of his head, which. Seems uncomfortable, but yes, it does sound like he's schizophrenia and that's a side effect to schizophrenia, like the changing of appearance and also scratching your head feeling.
Was it tactile? Yeah. I never know how to pronounce words. What would I do without you? Um, but besides seeing things, you can feel things and there's different sensations and that's an effect of schizophrenia. So yes, by all means it sounds like that's what you could diagnose him with. His mom even expressed concerns to his sister saying that he's losing his mind, but no one knew what to do.
They didn't know how to, to treat something so severe like this, and even Webb himself knew that something was wrong with him. He became worried about himself and he was afraid that he was going to harm himself or others. He voluntarily went to the police and turned in off his guns. He destroyed all the knives that he had in his home.
He asked his girlfriend to leave and move back to the East coast to stay away from him. And he also falsely reported himself as a killer to two different police agencies, hoping that they would arrest him. 
Liz: [00:03:49] It seems like he should be in some sort of institution. 
Emily: [00:03:54] Exactly. Um, but I think the issue that we're noticing here is that he's not going to doctors.
He's going to the police and. He hasn't committed a crime. So the police really can't 
Liz: [00:04:05] help. That's. That is a tough one. So 
Emily: [00:04:09] that's some background. And then I mentioned that he asked his girlfriend to move back home and stay away from him for her safety. So they ended up breaking up and no one thinks that's a trigger, but, uh, May 13th that he had a conversation with his father before going to sleep.
And he seemed fine, but he did seem really sad about the breakup, but that's all the dad said. The dad said he was okay. Definitely sad, but nothing seemed at that out of the ordinary. But now the next day it's May 14th mother's day. Web's sister arrives at her parent's home, along with her children to spend mother's day with her family.
When she arrives, she finds her parents' dog has been stabbed to death. 
Liz: [00:04:55] Oh, my God, not the 
Emily: [00:04:57] dog. She then goes inside the home and finds her mother's body to capitated on the floor. Liz's face shocked. She immediately calls the police. But when the police get the call from web sister, the dispatcher also gets another call from the local grocery store.
Someone has reported that a man has walked in, bloody carrying a knife and holding a Dick 
Liz: [00:05:23] potato head. Oh God, I, I knew you were gonna say that. And it's upsetting. So 
Emily: [00:05:29] he walks into the store, holding his mother's head. He goes to the fridge and just starts drinking a soda. He then turns around and start stabbing.
One of the employees named Michael Wachner, the other workers. I mean, obviously everyone's freaked out, but the immediately go and attack him and try to subdue him and they do so successfully. They calm him down. They use duct tape to capture him and keep him still, and they call the police. But they said once they duct taped him and got him away from, you know, beating up Michael Wagner, he entered a catatonic state.
He just wouldn't move. Didn't speak. Just look straight ahead. So the police come and they bring them to the hospital and he's under police custody, but he's in the hospital and still in a catatonic state. And it's not till 24 hours pass that he finally sits up in the hospital bed, says to somebody, I had a nice nap and then completely admits to killing his dog.
His mother and Ragnar 
Liz: [00:06:35] crazy is so creepy. I cannot. 
Emily: [00:06:40] He admitted to his crime. So this is a pretty open and shut case when it goes to trial. And this is, I believe it was, um, a trial, but not by jury. 
Liz: [00:06:50] Oh, I'm always curious about that because I think as the defendant, you can choose whether or not you, like, you can wave the jury thing and just have it be the judge ruling.
Oh, I didn't know that. Most people wouldn't do that because I think we actually talked about this one other time, or I talked about it with someone else, um, because the jurors know less about the law, so they're more likely to be swayed by something. So you're better off, you know, if you're ever in the position where you're being tried against, uh, for something you should have a jury.
Good tip. Liz. Love it. 
Emily: [00:07:26] Okay. So I also, I think this is no surprise, but he pleads guilty, but by reason of insanity and his defense attorneys are trying to push that instead of going to prison, he be sentenced to a mental institution. Two psychiatrists take the stand one from the defense and one from the prosecution.
And they both agree that he has schizophrenia and they diagnose him also with psychosis. Also something to note that it takes a while for things to hit trial. Like even if you're not having a jury, it can be months to a year. So by the time he goes to trial, he's been medicated for psychosis and he is still exhibiting signs of schizophrenia that both the psychiatrist who testifies say he is exhibiting such strong symptoms because he's been medicated for close to a year and it's still not helping.
Liz: [00:08:18] I'm picturing BD Wong on the stand, 
Emily: [00:08:21] a law and order reference in case you didn't get it. So he's clearly crazy. He's pleading guilty by reason of insanity. He doesn't speak at his trial. He just looks down and he refuses to look at his data tests. 
Liz: [00:08:38] I think he felt guilty. Yeah. I mean, I don't think I would be able to either.
Emily: [00:08:43] So he is sentenced, but to a state psychiatry hospital. And I am unsure of how long, because I read how, in one case they send in SIM to about 20 years, obviously for murder and dismembering a body. Um, but then I also read by state law. If you're going to a psychiatry hospital every two years, you need to be evaluated to see you could be fit, to be released.
Liz: [00:09:08] That's horrifying. Now I think 
Emily: [00:09:10] this is a good outcome. Him being committed to an insane asylum. Do we 
Liz: [00:09:15] still use that word? I don't know. Sure. 
Emily: [00:09:18] Uh, so I do think it's a good outcome, but we do have to understand the perspective from the victims families and the victims being one Webb's own family, his sister and dad.
And then also Michael Wagner, who was the store clerk who was stabbed. So his sister made a statement saying. Josh Webb is my brother. And I believe this sentence must have prison time behind it. Or my mother's death will forever be without true justice. He must pay for his sin. Also, Michael Wagner's daughter, like I said, the store clerk, her name was Stephanie McDonald and she said, We understand that mental illness is a very serious issue and should be dealt with appropriately.
However, under these circumstances and due to the nature of these horrific crimes, we feel the consequences of Mr.  actions may not be adequately addressed. He has created lifelong emotional wounds for our family, as well as his own. So I want to ask you, what do you think? Like they want him to be in prison and never let out.
He was instead sent to a psychiatric hospital. 
Liz: [00:10:25] I, this is a tough one because I do think that he should be closely monitored in a hospital like that. But I also, I hear the point where you want him behind bars to pay for what he did. You know, it's not really an excuse to decapitate someone and murder a perfect stranger.
Um, just because you didn't hurt 
Emily: [00:10:46] a stranger though, he stopped. Oh, the stranger lived. I'm sorry. I should have said that. Okay. 
Liz: [00:10:50] Okay. Well then stab a stranger. Um, I don't know. That's a hard one. I don't think he should ever be released into the public though. Ever again. 
Emily: [00:11:00] I agree. I think he needs to be in a hospital, but never back in the public.
And we also have to remember that he went to the police and he wanted to be arrested. Like it's so sad. 
Liz: [00:11:12] It's just, did he go to the police though, instead of going to a psychiatric institution where he could be evaluated and medicated before he actually committed these crimes? Because 
Emily: [00:11:23] not everybody knows the options that they have.
Liz: [00:11:28] Well, we do to do a better job as a society of making everyone aware. Of their options 
Emily: [00:11:34] and like Liz, you and I know these things. And also we live in New York, which is like a pretty woke city, I would say true. But I'm not saying like, Oh, small town, small mind. I'm just saying, I don't think he had the resources that necessarily we see in New York city.
That's a 
Liz: [00:11:47] fair point. I was thinking of only myself. God dammit, Liz. So selfish. That's a tricky, ethical question though. 
Emily: [00:11:55] Now I want to finish with his dad. His dad always goes back to the night before the murder and he says, he doesn't understand how this could happen. And he said, he saw his son was having issues, but he didn't think it could be this bad.
And whenever he talks about his son, who just says, I feel like I failed 
him. 
Liz: [00:12:14] That's real at least to add, because I'm sure he has some level of guilt where he's yeah, he's looking at this. Like why, how did I miss these signs? And I 
Emily: [00:12:22] want to read one thing that our listener he sent in when he recommended this crime, look, this is nuts.
Uh, what is it? Okay, so this is Brandon. He is from the town where Joshua is from. And he says, quote, I want to tell you about my hometown murder. A man who my father sorta kind of knew named Joshua web decapitated. His mother killed her dog and then took her head into a local grocery store where he stabbed a man before being subdued.
We know this, he then says this happened in S tuck cut Estacada Estacada Oregon, a town with a population of less than 3000. My dad owned an automotive business and had worked on Joshua's van. Joshua couldn't afford to pay my dad, but offered him a quote, homemade AK 47. Oh, Oh my God. To which my dad declined and reported him to the police, but nothing ever came of it.
Liz: [00:13:17] That's wild. I mean, if someone reports something like that, I would hope to God that the police would have this person on their radar. 
Emily: [00:13:26] Brandon's dad reported him. He also reported himself to the police two times. And nothing ever came of it. And then this happened. 
Liz: [00:13:34] Yeah. I mean, this wasn't going to end well, 
Emily: [00:13:37] exactly.
I think this could have been even possibly prevented, but I know that might be a 
Liz: [00:13:41] stretch. Well, that is a very interesting story. I can't get over the fact that he brought his mother's head into the grocery store. That's the worst part. Can you imagine seeing that if you're shopping. I don't know what I would 
Emily: [00:13:59] do.
I would never go back into a grocery store. 
Liz: [00:14:03] All right. 
Emily: [00:14:04] We will wrap it up here before turning over to Liz's 
Liz: [00:14:07] story. Well, thanks, Emily. Great job. And thank you Brandon. Once again.
okay. We're back after a little bit of hometown gossip gossip session. Okay. So I am going to tell you the story of the mysterious death of Greg Flennikan. Ooh, my references are vanity fair. I can't believe it's non-fiction dot com. Yes. And ABC news.go.com. I can't believe it's nonfiction. Isn't that funny?
Okay. So the year is 2010 and 50 five-year-old. Greg Flennikan was traveling for business as he frequently did. He co owned an oil company with his brother and he was on the road a lot and he pretty much had his travel routine down. Okay. On Wednesday, September 15th, Greg was in his hotel room at the Ellegante hotel in Beaumont, Texas.
He typically spent his evenings in his hotel room alone. Watching movies, snacking and smoking. So Greg gets an email from his wife at 7:00 PM that night. She told him that she was doing the taxes and he replied to her. You're doing good, babe. The next morning, his wife was really concerned that she hadn't heard from him because he typically called her every morning when he was traveling, she then contacted his coworkers who told her that he hadn't shown up for work that day.
So they went over to the hotel that he was staying at and they knocked on his hotel room, nobody answered. So then they got the police involved. And when the police opened the door, they found Greg Flanagan dead in the middle of the floor with his cigarette still in his hand. Oh my God. When detective Scott Apple got to the crime scene, there wasn't really too much that interested him.
Because there was no sign of a struggle or a break in, nothing was missing from the room and nothing was disturbed. There were no signs of blood or wounds on the body and Greg's wallet was still in the room with a thousand dollars worth of cash. So it definitely wasn't a robbery. Yeah. So detective Apple figures, he died of some sort of natural causes.
He even looked for pills in the room. To see maybe he overdosed, but he didn't find any detective Apple. I know. Isn't that a little cute name? I love it. Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter. When Greg's wife, Susie found out what happened. She told police that Greg was pretty stubborn and he never went to the doctor.
He didn't exercise and he smoked. So everyone's thinking perhaps this lifestyle just caught up with him. Yeah. They wrap up the investigation at the hotel pretty quickly. Because the medical examiner would be the one who would figure out how Greg died. So enter Dr. Tommy Brown, these names almost sounded made up.
I can't believe it's nonfiction. I'm going to admit it in this whole story is
Dr. Tommy Brown. He is a seasoned medical examiner and when he got Greg his body, there was nothing particularly concerning on the outside. The only marks on the outside of the body, where there was a rug burn on his cheek, where he had hit the carpet and fell. And then there was a half inch laceration on his scrotum.
Now, this is interesting because this is a little graphic. The sack was swollen and discolored. It was bruised and the bruising went up to the groin area. And then when Dr. Brown opened Greg up, he was shocked to see that there was massive internal damage. There was a lot of blood, there were two broken ribs and a hole in the right atrium of his heart.
Oh. So this all showed that there had been severe trauma. Greg had either been beaten to death or crushed by something. Dr. Brown concluded that the bruising on the scrotum was likely from a kick and then a severe blow to the chest had caused the lethal damage. And he probably bled out in less than 30 seconds.
So this seemingly normal, you know, sad case ends up being a homicide. 
Emily: [00:18:43] And I I'm guessing the issue now is that when they went to the scene, they didn't treat it as a homicide 
Liz: [00:18:49] scene. That does come into play. Yes. Emily are so smart. All right. So detective Apple is shocked to hear this news and he even called Dr.
Brown himself for clarification. And Dr. Brown told him that this kind of damage was like those seen in crash victims or someone who had fallen under a really heavy object. Wow. Neither of which obviously happened. So now time to investigate because. Someone killed this man, the evidence was really confusing because nothing about the hotel room.
It seemed like a crime scene. No one in the neighboring rooms said they heard anything weird. And also the unexplainable question of how did Greg get these severe internal injuries without really any external, visible damage? Yeah. Greg had no enemies to speak of. Everyone loved him, including his wife, who said that he was the nicest man that she had ever met months go by.
And detective Apple looked into a few possibilities that I'll get into. So maintenance records from the hotel showed that at some point on the night of Greg's death, he had tried to make popcorn in his room, in the microwave. And this accidentally blew in electric circuit. In his room and in two other rooms.
So he called the front desk to make a report. Um, and someone came up to reset the breaker, okay. Was, have to do with anything. Well, one detective Apple looked into the man who reset the breaker. He discovered that this man was actually a known sex offender. And so he thought, could this have been some sort of weird sexual attack?
I mean, there was a kick to the groin. Could be, but he looks into it and ultimately rolls that theory out. Yeah. The other theory was this, there were a group of electricians staying at the hotel that night, and one of them was staying in the room right next to Greg's. So potentially were they annoyed about the power outage and then some sort of attack happened.
But detective Apple interviewed these guys and said they were really happy to help with the investigation. They had nothing to hide. They were really just as curious about how this man died. So he's like that didn't do it either so months and months are going by, and they're no closer to solving the murder.
The family offers up a $50,000 reward for any information, but nothing came of it. So this case was headed towards the cold case files. Wow. Until Suzy. Hired a private investigator named Ken Brennan who was known for solving murders and missing persons cases that the police couldn't solve. He's also from long Island.
I just want to give us a shout out. Also imagine 
Emily: [00:21:44] that's your rep. Oh, he can solve the toughest cases. That's so cool. 
Liz: [00:21:49] I know. And he's, he apparently has a really thick, long Island accent. Like I can just picture him. Oh, this guy is amazing. So Brennan and detective apples start working together as a team on the case.
Yes. They circled back to the theory of the electricians and they re-interviewed them. While they're doing this. One of them, one of the guys mentions. Oh yeah. Was that the case where the guy got into the fight at another? I says, Oh yeah, I heard about something happened with where a gun went off. And that strikes Brennan as odd because there had no talk of gunshot wounds or anything, but he says to detective Apple, we have to go back and re-examine this room.
An Apple is wondering why. And Brennan says we're looking for any sign of a gunshot. Yes. Okay. So they searched the hotel room again, like high and low, and they're almost about to give up, but then Brennan notices an indentation on the wall. They also searched the room next door after they see this indent and they find one there as well, but it had been patched up with toothpaste.
And this was the room where the electricians were hanging out. Oh, the holes lined up and they made a trajectory of a bullet that would have entered the wall in the electrician's room and exited into Greg's room. And it would have hit the bed where Greg was laying. I just have a quote from Brennan. Now he says this motherfucker was shot.
So he, he and detective Apple bring this theory to the medical examiner, Dr. Brown. And he's not convinced because he found no evidence of a gunshot wound. What about his scrotum? So they go over the photos together from the autopsy and they talk this theory out that Greg was shot in the scrotum and the bullet entered his body and like destroyed his organs.
And the doctors still, haven't kind of a hard time believing this because it just doesn't look like your typical gunshot wound. Yeah. But eventually he comes around and he says, yeah, you're right. And that hole in the heart is from a gun. Oh my God. Isn't that wild. 
Emily: [00:24:12] Also. Can I point out, this is your second case where someone shot in bed.
Liz: [00:24:17] You're never safe. Okay. 
Emily: [00:24:20] Liz's episode from last week. 
Liz: [00:24:22] Or was it two weeks ago? Oh, I think that was last week. You're right. Yeah. I'm sensing a pattern. No wonder I've been having some weird dreams. So I stopped doing cases like this. All right. So now they have to go back and interview the electricians.
Again. Tim Stein, Mer was interviewed by police and he comes out with the whole story. Oh no. He says three of them had been hanging out in the room. Next door to Greg's room, Trent Paisano, Lance Mueller and himself, Tim Steiner. And they were hanging out and drinking at one point, Lance Mueller asked Trent Paisano to go get a bottle of whiskey from his car.
And when Paisano got back to the room, Mueller took out a handgun and started playing with it. And the other two people are horrified. And obviously, because that's scary, the drunk person playing with a gun. Yeah. Eventually it went off by accident. 
Emily: [00:25:20] That's why you don't play with 
Liz: [00:25:21] guns. The guys are obviously startled.
They make sure that no one was hit. And then they kind of just went on with their night. They said they couldn't remember if there was someone in the room next door. But when they saw the gurney, the next day, they pretty much knew that Mueller had killed this guy. Oh my God. 
Emily: [00:25:42] And they didn't 
Liz: [00:25:42] say anything.
No, they didn't say anything. And they're interviewed by police too. Um, they say, you know, they looked into it and when rumors were first coming out about how this guy died, they were saying it may be, but as a heart attack, and this guy, Tim is saying, even if it was a heart attack, like we know that that gunshot probably caused whatever happened in that room.
Oh my God. So Lance Mueller was charged with manslaughter and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. And I read that if they had just taken a moment to go check on him next door, to see if he got hit by the bullet, he likely, probably probably was dead already, but if they had checked on him and then reported it to the police, he probably wouldn't have gotten any jail time.
Like it was an accident, but then the coverup afterwards, not so much. What about his two friends? I don't think anything really happens to them, which is sort of messed up. So I will end on a quote, Susie at the hearing spoke directly to Mueller and said, I have waited over two years to look at you in the face eye to eye, and simply have the chance to speak directly to you.
You would never have come forward with the truth. You murdered him. No, you didn't intentionally seek him out to murder him, but you murdered him with every lie you told with every intention, all selfish deception with every cover up, over and over again, you saw his body taken out of the room in a body bag.
The next day you knew you killed him. He meant nothing to you. She has a point. 
Emily: [00:27:22] Yeah. Like, I know it was an accident, but still the fact 
Liz: [00:27:26] that you just covered it up, it is criminal. In my opinion. I agree. So, I mean that's 10 years in prison. He'll probably get out before then, but, and like to also just the guilt though, having to live with that.
Yeah. Wow. Um, but yeah, anyway, I thought that was a very interesting story and I love that the private investigator came in and just solved it. Yeah, of course. Wow. 
Emily: [00:27:53] I mean that one guy rat at the mountain, not rat at the Mount, but he messed up 
Liz: [00:27:58] the story. Yeah. I know the one kid, I don't know who he was like, he might, I don't think he was one of the three in the room that night.
I think it was one of the other electricians that they were interviewing and they had heard tell, because when they're thinking about this, they're saying, okay, if these guys were drinking, they probably told their friends about what happened. So the other electricians that were staying in the hotel too, even though they weren't hanging out with them that night, they kind of heard about what happened.
Uh 
Emily: [00:28:25] Oh, got it. Wow. How did you find this? 
Liz: [00:28:29] Um, I was just looking at the vanity fair, true crime articles because they're my favorite. Yeah, they are pretty great. Well, I think that's a wrap. It is, this was kind of a quick episode, but. Like Emily said, she's busy with her real job. She's got to get back to work.
No, 
Emily: [00:28:43] no, no. This is my real job. I'm busy with the job that pays me 
Liz: [00:28:50] unnecessary. All right. We love you guys. We love you. And we will be back next week. .